It's week 2 of my Arts & Crafts workshop for kids age 4-7 and this week, we are doing some Australia inspired art! Last week, our theme was the Netherlands and we made a sponge Tompouce, a popular Dutch pastry. Click here to see the tutorial and download the warm-up drawing exercise.
I lived in Australia for a long time so I am familiar with the Australian Aboriginal Dot Paintings and was fortunate enough to see some of the amazing work they produce(d). But I had no idea just how fascinating and complex the symbols used in their work could be. Australian Aboriginals incorporate symbols into their artwork to tell a story and once you learn about these symbols, it allows you to gain more insight and deeper understanding of the painting. There are set of popular symbols that they use and you can read about them here. But from what I read, the meaning behind these symbols can vary depending on the tribe.
Warm-up Drawing Exercise
I usually start my workshop with a simple drawing or colouring exercise to get the kids to start thinking creatively. For this week's theme Australia, I made a simple "copy and draw" exercise that asks kids to copy some of the popular symbols used in Aboriginal Dot Paintings. If you would also like to try the exercise with your kids, you can download the file below:
Kids Craft Idea - Australian Aboriginal Dot Painting
Paints (we used red, yellow, white and black)
Paper (or you can download and print my kangaroo template)
Traditionally, the Australian Aboriginal Dot Painting works use earthy colours because they made paints with what was available to them in their natural environment. Nowadays, their works are somewhat more colourful and vivid. But for the purpose of the exercise, I gave them 4 colours that are often found in their traditional artwork: red, yellow, white and black.
I made print outs of a kangaroo on a brown background to make things more simple for the age group (I work with age 4-7). But I think it would also be fun to give kids a black sheet of paper and get them to make their own shapes like an Australian animal of their choice or trace & cut their hand. You can definitely add a different layer of creativity here.
The kids used q-tips to make the dots and for older kids, I encouraged them to incorporate some of the Aboriginal symbols we learned. Can you spot some symbols in their paintings?